So many predators and perverts – are there any good men left at all?
Yonden Lhatoo is taken aback by some of the famous names being exposed in the groundswell of sexual harassment or assault allegations against predatory men, but welcomes the empowerment that is driving victims to speak out
I was waiting in the lobby for a lift up to my flat recently when I was joined by a neighbour returning from work and another resident bringing his dog back from a night walk.
We shared a moment of collective embarrassment as the dog, obviously in heat, attempted to make passionate love to my neighbour’s leg. She turned beet red while the apologetic dog owner yanked his amorous pet back and scolded him.
After what seemed like an eternity staring at our feet and avoiding eye contact as we waited for that lift to arrive, we maintained an awkward silence during the ride up to our flats, with the dog’s amplified panting ringing in our ears.
For some reason, that desperate animal made me think of Harvey Weinstein, and I still can’t shake off the unfortunate word association.
All men are dogs, women have complained since time immemorial, and if you’re familiar with the sordid details of the allegations that dozens have made about the Hollywood mogul forcing himself upon them, you can understand where they’re coming from.
The frisky dog in my building is forgiven for its inappropriate behaviour because, as an animal ruled by its natural instincts and urges, it does not have to follow the societal norms and codes of conduct that we humans are required to observe in a civilised society. So when it comes to things like mating or defecating in public, I’m afraid there’s simply no excuse for us men.
Granted, all humans may well be animals at the end of the day, driven by built-in sexual desires pre-designed to ensure the propagation of our species. What sets us apart is our capacity for self-reflection and abstraction.
So, when men go sniffing around women, tongues out and tails wagging, “no” means “back off” – it’s as simple as that.
And yet, just look at that ever-expanding list of sexual perverts, paedophiles and predators being outed on an almost daily basis after the Weinstein scandal opened the floodgates.
All of it has to do with men in positions of power taking shameful advantage of women obliged to work with them. It’s disgusting, but it’s been going on throughout history.
What’s different – and hugely heartening – this time is the sheer number of women coming out one after another to name and shame their tormentors. It looks like something has snapped, and they’re not going to take it any more. I hope it’s the new normal.
All men have been served notice: you are no longer safe, whether it happened decades ago, or your victims are too intimidated or ashamed to expose you at the moment. Be sure your sin will find you out.
While I welcome the mob lynching of rutting males who can’t behave themselves as long overdue comeuppance, I can’t help wishing some of that empowerment women are feeling in the United States would rub off on this part of the world.
You can bet that Hong Kong’s film and entertainment industry, for example, is plagued by the same problems, but nobody really dares to speak out.
From politicians to producers, here are 50 prominent men accused of sexual misconduct since Weinstein’s downfall
The #metoo movement is dead in the water here because of the shame and stigma that victims of sexual assault or harassment have to contend with in a traditionally conservative society. What a pity.
Back to that daily tally of gropers and molesters, I’m starting to wonder if any man is innocent at all these days. Louis C.K. and Charlie Rose? Come on!
Remember Bonnie Tyler when she was famously holding out for a hero in the 1980s? Where have all the good men gone? And where are all the gods? Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds? she sang.
Looks like we’re fresh out of Herculeses, Bonnie. But we’re chock-a-block with Harveys.
Yonden Lhatoo is the chief news editor at the Post